Maintaining Information Security in E-Government through Steganology

Maintaining Information Security in E-Government through Steganology

Huayin Si (University of Warwick, UK) and Chang-Tsun Li (University of Warwick, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-947-2.ch104
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Traditional government structures are sometimes regarded as overly bulky. However, with the rapid expansion of interconnected computer networks and the progressive development of information technology (IT), it is now possible to exchange massive amounts of data at light speed over great distances. These infrastructures and technologies provide the opportunity for governments to transform themselves from huge monsters to compact and efficient organizations. Realizing the potential benefits of IT, as of summer 2004, 198 governments had started their e-government plans to construct digital government based on the Internet (West, 2004). One of the essential features of e-government is the transmission of confidential information via computer networks. Depending on the sensitivity of the information, the security of some information should be treated at the same level as national security. Although each e-government has its own networks, no government can say no to the Internet, because it would be a waste of resource. However, the Internet is an open environment; therefore, protecting data flowing on the Internet from attacks is a pressing e-government issue. All governments with such strategies have sought help from cryptographers and devoted huge amounts of both money and time to the development of specially designed information systems and advanced cryptosystems to strengthen information security. Unfortunately, cryptography is not adequate in some applications. As computing power keeps increasing and the techniques of cryptanalysis keep advancing, contemporary cryptosystems cannot and will not work forever. At the 24th Annual International Cryptology Conference (CRYPTO’04), MD5 and a series of related cryptosystems, which are currently in widespread use, were proved unreliable (Wang, Feng, Lai, & Yu, 2004). From the last decade, steganology—the technique for digitally hiding and detecting information – is attracting more attention. It is already regarded as a powerful complement to cryptology and a promising technique for ensuring e-national security. Unlike cryptology, which renders the encrypted information completely meaningless, steganology keeps the host media perceptually unchanged after hiding the secret information. This article will provide an in-depth explanation of the two components of steganology, namely steganography and steganalysis, and discuss their potential applications in the realm of e-national security.

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